Travelling Man's Blog


Review: Starfire Issue 6 by Travelling Man

starfire issue 6Written by Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti

Pencils by Emanuella Lupacchino

Inks by Ray McCarthy

Colours by Hi Fi

Letters by Tom Napolitano

 

Kori’s attempts to work out just what the Hell is going on with possible murderer Soren are hampered by what seems to be a sporadic new superpower. Not to mention a bounty hunter intent on claiming her life, and the prize attached to it…

Conner and Palmiotti are one of those writing teams that never get enough credit. Their work, for years now, has been characterized by a lightness of touch, love for the characters they’re writing and willingness to engage and listen to their audiences. They’re class acts who do their jobs supremely well, and this issue neatly demonstrates that.

What you’ve got here is three things happening at once. The Soren plot is moved along a little as we see just what he’s done, but remain unsure whether he knew he was doing it. That’s tied to Kori’s chaotic new ability which is itself a pretty interesting idea. Kori’s always been a character whose mind set has been a combination of sweet and brutal and the new ability touches on both those sides of her. It’s a forcible kind of empathy, one that gives her an idea of what her opponent’s done but denies her context. In doing so, it also challenges her fundamentally good nature. When faced with a murderer, whose crimes you’d experienced, what would you do?  It’s a question with no easy answers and the book doesn’t shy away from that.

It also uses that dichotomy to deal with what would otherwise seem to be a fairly standard punch up. The bounty hunter who shows up is a charmingly cocky figure and Conner and Palmiotti cleverly use him as a means of catharsis, and questions, for both Kori and the reader. How she beats him, and what she does afterwards in particular, is an uneasy hybrid of both sides of her nature. She’s growing as a person and whether her actions here come back and bite her remain to be seen.

On the art side of things, Lupacchino’s clean lines mesh with the angle and panel choices of the script perfectly. Hi Fi’s colours give the book a convincingly sun drenched feeling that suits both its tone and the character and McCarthy’s inks are subtle but add welcome brawn to the art. Napolitano deals with lots of dialogue, and the interesting, staccato script structure, with aplomb too.

As clever, and fun, as Harley Quinn but a little quieter, Starfire is one of the best books DC put out right now. Fun, clever and, like Kori, far more complex than it first appears.



Review: Harley Quinn Issue 0 by Travelling Man

 

Written by Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti

Art by Amanda Conner, Becky Cloonan, Tony S. Daniel, Sandu Florea, Stephane Roux, Dan Panosian, Walt Simonson, Jim Lee, Scott Williams, Bruce Timm, Charlie Adlard, Adam Hughes, Art Baltazar, Tradd Moore, Dave Johnson, Jeremy Roberts, Sam Kieth, Darwyn Cooke and Chad Hardin. Yes really, all of them.

Colours by Paul Mounts, Tomeu Morey, John Kalisz, Lovern Kindzierski, Alex Sinclair, Lee Loughridge, Dave Stewart and Alex Sollazzo. Yes, really. All of them.

Letter by John J. Hill

Cover by Amanda Conner and Paul Mounts

Published by DC

£2.20

 

Harley’s back! And she’s noticed she’s in a comic!

And if she’s sensible then she’ll be very happy to see the people writing her and the book. Conner and Palmiotti are all but incapable of turning in bad work and this is no exception. The framing pages by Conner are great, her usual style and humour in full effect. The centre pages are more varied, because, let’s face it, how could they not be with a line up like this? The Darwyn Cooke pages are especially lovely, as are the Art Baltazar and Bruce Timm ones. Some work less well, the Simonson page is lovely but slightly minimalistic, but overall the art teams turn in excellent work. The colourists and letterer Hill also deserve a medal for being able to not only work with the numerous art styles but give the book a sense of unity.

So what about the plot? This being a zero issue, the plot is mostly Harley realizing she’s in a comic and discussing the direction of it with Conner and Palmiotti as the art styles influence the plot. It’s really fun too, combining some demented action beats (Harley surfing dolphins into battle) with some nicely handled smaller moments and some great rolling banter.  Throughout, Harley is the same flamboyantly violent energiser bunny she’s always been. Conner and Palmiotti clearly love the character and the three way conversation (And fight) between creators and character is hugely entertaining.

If there’s an issue here, it’s that some of the industry in jokes either fall flat or never take off. Good naturedly mocking Jim Lee for being late is a single, huge fish in an empty barrel at this point for example. People will either be amused, confused or nod resignedly and the odds of getting a laugh aren’t high with that sort of gag. However, the vast majority of the gags land very well and the sense of dark fun that comes with them is great.

 

Harley Quinn has always been one of the most entertaining elements of the Batman universe and here she finally gets another moment in the spotlight. This is a spiky, sparky prelude to what looks like a great run by a pair of great creators. Give it a shot. Or Harley will find you.




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